Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Kathleen Murphy continues to consider Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope. We look at the immigration final policy recommendations as well as the Catholic Bishops’ conclusions.
Consequences of September 11
* The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have placed national security concerns at the forefront of the migration debate and have added another dimension to the migration relationship between the United States and Mexico. We urge both nations to cooperate in this area, but not to enact joint policies that undermine human rights, reduce legal immigration, or deny asylum seekers opportunities for protection.
* The Church should encourage these broad-based efforts to provide both a comprehensive network of social services and advocacy for migrant families. A special call is issued for lawyers in both our countries to assist individuals and families in navigating the arduous immigration process and to defend the rights of migrants, especially those in detention.
* Ideally, local parishes should ensure that sacramental preparation is available to people on the move, making special provisions for them given their transitory lives of following work wherever it leads.
* Careful and generous cooperation between dioceses is important to provide priests and religious who are suited for this important ministry. Guidelines for their training and reception by the host diocese must be developed jointly with the diocese that sends them.
* We recognize the phenomenon of migration as an authentic sign of the times. We see it in both our countries through the suffering of those who have been forced to become migrants for many reasons. To such a sign we must respond in common and creative ways so that we may strengthen the faith, hope, and charity of migrants and all the people of God.
* We ask our presidents to continue negotiations on migration issues to achieve a system of migration between the two countries that is more generous, just, and humane. We call for legislatures of our two countries to effect a conscientious revision of the immigration laws and to establish a binational system that accepts migration flows, guaranteeing the dignity and human rights of the migrant.
* We stand in solidarity with you, our migrant brothers and sisters, and we will continue to advocate on your behalf for just and fair migration policies. We commit ourselves to animate communities of Christ’s disciples on both sides of the border to accompany you and your journey so that yours will truly be a journey of hope, not of despair, and so that, at the point of arrival, you will experience that you are strangers no longer and instead members of God’s household.
Can we be part of the solution of this many faceted issue? Our prayer can be a powerful tool, but we also need to avail ourselves of information on this topic. As we know so well, education is also a well-wielded weapon. (Photos by Fred Graber, Madison, WI)